Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Monday, January 19, 2009

Making it Believable

The new beginning? Well, it's been snipped. This morning I woke up with a better idea in my head and went to work. All told, Blink is 1652 words shorter than it was, but it's tons better already. I just have some new things to weave in the rest of the story to make it all more believable.

And that's what this is all about, right?

Whether we're writing about today or a thousand years ago, here or some distance galaxy or a made-up world of our own imagination - it's all about making it believable.

To illustrate let me use some examples from the film industry. Take, for instance, the movie Volcano. Premise is simple and a little outlandish - a volcano sprouts up in the middle of LA. Probable? No. Plausible? The way they wrote it, yes.

Around the same time, the movie Dante's Peak hit theaters. A dormant volcano wakes up and takes out a town of disbelievers. Both probable and plausible.

Of the two, though, the more believable movie was Volcano. Why? Because the writers put some thought into the little things that would make the moviegoers forget the implausibility of the premise. Little things like the immense heat from lava can and will kill people. Volcano lost a few characters - like the guy who played Drew Carey's cross-dressing brother - because lava kills (awesome scene, btw... I cry every time I see it). Dante's Peak? The MC drives his truck through a river of molten rock and the only thing that catches fire are the tires.

Umm, ya.

So these are the types of things I try to catch when I'm creating a world. Right now it's a little more difficult because I'm dealing with the future, and as long as I stick to the laws of reality, I can play with the world. Just how to make each piece work with every other piece... Well, that's what's making this so tricky. And those are also the places where I'm catching the little inconsistencies that will trip the reader up.

I hate those little trips.

Almost like when you're reading along and a character's hair color changes, but worse. I ran into theis very problem when I had to rewrite the middle at the end of '07. I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong, and then it hit me upside the head. It was one of those "DUH" moments. Like "if the other guys have all this technology why wouldn't they have wiped out the bad guys decades ago... duh." I tried to wiggle my way around it by creating a lame excuse, but in the end, that's all it really was - LAME.

So I rewrote it, and it's really so much better. Only problem is, I didn't see I still had flaws earlier on. I see them now, and I'm fixing them. It just takes time.

As for Nano, until I've taken Blink as far as I can go (or I get her finished - whichever comes first), I'm putting Nano on hold. It'll still be there when I get back. So will all the new notes I made trying to put it back together again.

*shrug* Such is the writing life.

Ever have to do something like this with your story? If not, just tell me about an inconsistency you saw or read that totally tripped you up.



JenWriter said...

Yep, I know about the inconsistency thing...only I didn't notice it. My agent did. It's one of the things I've been working on fixing in my revisions. A few of my "rules" of the world didn't mesh, and now I have to go back and rewrite the scenes that don't work.

Wendy Roberts said...

I changed a character's name in final draft and then didn't catch all the changes. Good thing the copyeditor caught them or everyone would've been asking 'who the hell is Tara?' ha ha1